Putting Children’s Health On The Map

Funded by the Green Shield Canada Foundation and the Children’s Health Foundation, with additional support from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Children’s Health Atlas was a collaborative project between the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) and the Children’s Health Research Institute (CHRI).

The purpose of this atlas was to identify, assess, and map opportunities for healthy living in Southwestern Ontario (SWO). Maps are the ideal medium for sharing knowledge about our world as they allow us to identify distributions of variables such as special populations or environmental features, as well as relationships between variables and patterns which would otherwise be indiscernible. Our focus in this atlas is on children, a population who are particularly influenced by the characteristics of their immediate, local environments due to parental decisions, institutional regulations, and societal norms that can restrict their mobility. Our overarching goal is to generate a body of evidence on environmental factors associated with health and well?being of children in SWO.

Counties and cities featured in the atlas include the following: Chatham-Kent County, City of Chatham, Elgin County, City of St. Thomas, Essex County, City of Windsor, Grey-Bruce Counties, City of Owen Sound, Huron County, City of Goderich, Lambton County, City of Sarnia, Middlesex County, City of London, Oxford County, City of Woodstock, Perth County, and City of Stratford.

This atlas is one product of a larger, ongoing research project called “Putting Children’s Health on the Map” being undertaken by researchers at the Children’s Health Research Institute and the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory. These researchers and their trainees are exploring geographical variations in children’s health issues such as physical inactivity, obesity, asthma, injury, congenital anomalies, low birthweight, and mental health, in an attempt to identify potential environmental determinants. By gaining a better understanding of how the social and physical environment can influence health and well-being, we can help policymakers, planners, health professionals, and other stakeholders to develop policies and interventions for promoting the health of children in SWO.

Gilliland, J. (2012) “Opportunities for Healthy Living in Southwestern Ontario: A focus on Children’s Environments” London: Children’s Health Research Institute.